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Posts Tagged ‘rebels’

UN Official: Syrian Army Asked IDF Not to Hit its Tanks in the Golan

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

The blogger Nabil Abi Saab of UN Report on Saturday revealed a note that, according to diplomats, was submitted to the Security Council on Friday, 7 June 2013, by Herve Ladsous, UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations.

This is a full transcription of the note:

Note on developments in UNDOF

1. On the morning of 6 June, heavy clashes between the Arab Armed Forces (SAAF) and armed members of the opposition occurred in the area of separation, particularly in the vicinity of Quneitra and Qataniyah near the Bravo Gate (the entry point on the Bravo side to and from the Israeli-occupied Golan, maintained by Syrian authorities). UNDOF also reported shelling in the vicinity of Khan Arnabeh, Al Samdaniyah and Trunji, and mortar fire in the United Nations Observation Post 52, in the area of separation. Tank shells and mortars impacted in the vicinity of United Nations Position 60A. As a result of the fighting, several impacts of indirect mortar and heavy-machine gun fire hit the UNDOF Logistic Base, Camp Ziouani, located on the Alpha side (Israeli-occupied Golan). Two UNDOF personnel at Camp Ziouani sustained minor injuries and are in stable condition. UNDOF is currently assessing the extent of the damage to the facility. During the fighting UNDOF personnel at United Nations Positions 22, 25, 27 and 60 in the area of separation took shelter in their positions. UNDOF personnel at the Charlie Gate (on the ceasefire line and manned by UNDOF) relocated temporarily to the Alpha side.

2. During the clashes, SAAF reinforced its presence in the area of separation with five main battle tanks and five armoured personnel carriers, moving in the direction of Quneitra. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) informed the UNDOF Force Commander that should the movement of SAAF tanks continue, the IDF would take action. Subsequently, the UNDOF Force Commander conveyed the message to the Senior Syrian Arab Delegate (SSAD), UNDOF’s main interlocutor on the Bravo side. The SSAD informed the UNDOF Force Commander that the presence of the tanks was solely for the purpose of fighting the armed members of the opposition and asked that the IDF not take action. Also, during the fighting, armed members of the opposition took control temporarily of the Bravo Gate. After several hours of Clashes between the SAAF and the armed members of the opposition, the SAAF regained control of the Bravo Gate and fighting in the area had subsided. Currently, four main battle tanks and three armoured personnel carriers remain in the area of separation, in violation of the Disengagement Agreement.

3. The SSAD informed UNDOF that SSAD Liaison Officers at the Bravo Gate suffered fatalities. The Government of Israel Liaison Officer informed UNDOF that the IDF had provided emergency medical treatment to a total of 16 armed members of the opposition, all of whom had been returned to the Bravo side. UNDOF does not have any additional information on casualties or fatalities among SAAF or armed members of the opposition.

4. Throughout the fighting, the UNDOF Force Commander remained in contact with both sides in an effort to prevent an escalation of the situation across the ceasefire line, and to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel.

5. As stated by the Secretary – General, further to the announced decision by the Government of Austria to withdraw its contingent from UNDOF, the United Nations is approaching Member States in an effort to identify urgently new contributors or additional contributions to UNDOF.

DPKO / 6 June 2013

Israel Demands UN Meet Their Obligations on the Golan

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Following the Syrian Rebel attack on the UN base at Quneitra on Thursday, that left a Philippine and an Indian Observer injured, Austria announced they are pulling out their UN Observers from the Golan mission. The pullout will happen within the month.

The Austrian Observers make up more than a third of the contingent, and have been one of the more important countries in the mission. Japan and Croatia already pulled out their people months ago. The UN is holding an emergency meeting on Friday to find replacement troops. Fiji said they might send troops.

Israel pointed out that, once again, the UN has proven unable to fulfill their mission.

Israel thanked the Austrians for their years of service as peacekeepers, but expressed regret at the decisions, and hoped that the border situation won’t escalate further as a result. Israel added that they expect the UN to meet their obligations, as per UN Security Council Resolution 350.

If the UN fails on the Golan, the buffer zone between Israel and Syria will disappear, and Israel could easily find themselves in a situation where they may need to fight the rebels, or move troops into the buffer zone on the Syrian side, something Israel does not want to have to do.

Minister Yuval Steinintz added, that the lesson is very clear, “In any peace agreement, Israel cannot rely on international forces, but only on IDF soldiers.” He added that South Lebanon, under the UN’s watch, now has 40,000 missiles embedded there pointed at Israel. The UN did nothing to stop it.

The UNDOF troops have been in place on the Golan since May 31, 1974, following the decision of UN Security Council Resolution 350. The observers were put into place as a result of Syria trying to recapture the Golan in 1973, after losing it in 1967, and following the increase in border attacks from Syria starting in March 1974.

Syria-Israel Border Crossing Overrun by Rebels

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Syrian side of the border crossing near the Syrian town of Quneitra has been captured by the rebels after heavy fighting Thursday.

Quneitra is the only border crossing between Israel and Syria, and this is the first time it has been captured by the rebels since the fighting began in early 2011.

The IDF has increased its readiness, and ordered local farmers to stay away from their land near the border.

Over the past few months it has been rumored that Al Qaida forces that joined the rebels are dominating the southern part of Syria, nearest Israel. Recently there have been fire exchanges between the IDF and sources on the Syrian side.

A UN Peacekeeper was injured when a mortar landed in the UN base, on the Syrian side of the crossing.

Syrian Rebels Demand Hezbollah’s Expulsion

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

In an interview on Tuesday, Salim Idris, the head of the Syrian rebel army, called on Lebanon’s president Michel Suleiman, the Arab League, and the UN to remove Hezbollah from Syria within 24 hours.

Idris threatened that if Hezbollah is not gone within 24 hours, their men would be hunted down wherever they are.

Idris said that Suleiman is responsible for Hezbollah’s activities.

It was also recently reported that Iran, despite the sanction’s against it, has recently supplied Syria with between $3 billion to $7 billion dollars in loans and lines of credit.

Iran supports Syria and Hezbollah.

Support the Syrian Rebels?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Washington Post article today, “Assad forces gaining ground in Syria” by Liz Sly, argues that recent events suggest that the Assad regime is not just surviving but has gone on the offensive. Drawing on local analysts, she finds that in the civil war, “there is little doubt that the pendulum is now swinging in favor of Assad … bolstered by a new strategy, the support of Iran and Russia and the assistance of fighters with Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.”

If this in fact be the case, then, Western governments should respond by helping the rebels to prevent Assad from crushing them.

This advice is consistent with my argument (in an article titled “Support Assad” published just a month ago, when Assad appeared to be going down) that the West should prevent either side in the civil war from emerging victorious by “helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong their conflict.”

This policy recommendation of “helping whichever side is losing” sounds odd, I admit, but it is strategic.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and The National Review, Online, May 11, 2013.

Syrian Rebels Take 4 UN Peacekeepers Prisoner

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Syrian Rebels are holding four UN peacekeepers prisoner. The four Filipino peacekeepers were on the Golan Heights to monitor the ceasefire line between Syria and Israel.

The Rebels claim they are holding them, to keep them safe.

What’s Best for the Jews: Agencies Split Over Assad Vs. Rebels Options

Monday, April 29th, 2013

There appear to be sharp disputes among Israel’s intelligence agencies, over the best outcome of the two-year Syrian civil war. Against the background of a public debate about whether the Red Line has been crossed by the Syrian government, which likely attacked its own civilians using chemical weapons, Israel’s government experts are differing in their assessments of whose victory would better serve the Jewish state’s security interests: the Assad regime in Damascus or the rebels.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assembled, for the first time since the start of his current coalition government, the Security Cabinet, to discuss the situation in Syria and the Israeli response to recent developments, Maariv reported.

Israeli intelligence agencies are split on how to act regarding Syria. One organization believes that the focus should be kept on the Iranian nuclear issue, and, therefore, if the Assad regime collapses, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis would absorb a mortal blow, thus improving Israel’s ability to handle the nuclear threat.

One of the factors delaying an Israeli raid on the Iranian nuclear facilities—certainly not the only one—is the probability that Iran’s clients, Syria and especially Hezbollah, would retaliate, peppering Israel’s civilian centers with the estimated 50 thousand short- and medium-range missiles Hezbollah has in its possession. With Syria turning anti-Iranian—the rebels are Sunni, Iran is Shiite—and with a consequently embattled—also Shiite— Hezbolla, The likelihood of a retaliation would diminish.

But another intelligence agency’s evaluation focuses on the border between Syria and Israel, and away from the Iranian strategic threat. It is estimated that removing Assad would create chaos and the disintegration of the central government, and as rebel groups then settle on the Syrian-Israeli they are highly likely to initiate attacks against Israel. Therefore, this agency recommends, the best course of action is to allow, and whenever possible even encourage the warring parties in Syria to continue to wear each other down over time.

So far, everyone agrees that the ongoing civil war has been a bonanza for Israeli security concerns, especially as it has been drawing Hezbollah fighters into the conflict, and returning scores of them to their homeland in convoys of coffins. As a result, Hezbollah, which has done better against the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon War, may be losing its clout in Lebanese politics, and may even be facing internal strife over its direction. The rumors about the organization’s leader Hasan Nasrallah being stricken with cancer (he’s been denying it) are a good thing, too.

It isn’t clear, according to Maariv, where Netanyahu stands in this debate. At the moment he is most concerned with the possibility that the United States would be pushed by public opinion to supply the rebels with weapons—which it may be doing via clandestine channels already.

But Netanyahu has a different perspective on the Red Line issue regarding President Obama’s decision on becoming involved directly in Syria. A Sunday Times report suggested that when Obama was visiting in Israel, he was given a full and thorough report on the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. Netanyahu’s concern is not whether or not Obama takes steps to punish Assad on using chemical weapons, but whether or not Obama ever makes good on his word regarding Red Lines.

What will Obama do at one minute before midnight—which is bound to take place this summer—when Netanyahu provides him with irrefutable proof that Iran had crossed its Red Line, and is now capable of producing and launching nuclear weapons?

And so, the competing interests here are the “convenience” of having two kinds of Syrians delivering one another into the embrace of 72 maidens in the hereafter—versus the existential need to force the president of the United States to keep his promise on Israel’s life or death issue.

A component that has not been in discussion until recently is the attitude of Israel’s on-again, off-again Muslim ally in the region, Turkey. The Turks have been feeling the effects of the Syrian civil war in a much more pronounced way that Israel. Their territory has been breached several times by aggression from the other side of the border, while thousands of Syrian refugees are flooding across the same border. Does Turkey want a quick end to the war, and whom do they like better, Assad or the rebels? And is Turkey not equally terrified of a nuclear Iran as are Israel and Iran’s neighbors along the Gulf?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/whats-best-for-the-jews-agencies-split-over-assad-vs-rebels-options/2013/04/29/

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